Saudi Arabia says seizes drugs worth $267 million, arrests six

RIYADH Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:55am EDT

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian police have arrested six people and seized illegal drugs worth 1 billion riyals ($267 million) that were being smuggled into the country from neighboring Bahrain, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

Spokesman Major General Mansour Turki said five Saudi citizens and one Bahraini had been detained in the operation after police uncovered 22.6 million amphetamine pills hidden inside coils of barbed wire and rolls of plastic.

Drug smuggling can be punished by death in the conservative Islamic kingdom. All narcotics and alcohol are illegal in Saudi Arabia, which has a young population and applies sharia (strict Islamic law).

An investigation into the seizure of the drugs turned up a connection to an international drug smuggling ring led by a Syrian national, Turki told the state news agency SPA.

In 2010 Saudi Arabia received around 7 tonnes of Captagon tablets, one of the most popular forms of amphetamine in the Middle East, representing around a third of total world supply, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Production of Captagon in Syria has soared over the past two years as a result of the breakdown in order caused by the country's civil war.

Riyadh is a leading supporter of rebels fighting to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is a major ally of the kingdom's top regional rival Iran.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (7)
Some heads going to roll, literally…

Apr 13, 2014 11:12am EDT  --  Report as abuse
RealNeil wrote:
One of the worst places to get caught doing that in the world. They’re going to be made to pay in a big way.

It’s hard for me to understand why people take such huge risks using their lives as collateral. (yeah, tell me all about the good money)

Apr 14, 2014 12:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JoeSchmoe123 wrote:
Which is worse, Sharia Law or 22.6 million amphetamine pills?

Mondays are tough…

Apr 14, 2014 2:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus